Another week of life in Paraguay...
Trip Start Feb 06, 2007
21Trip End Apr 26, 2009
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Greetings people back home in the good ole USA! I have never felt so disconnected from my native language than I do now. I am forgetting words left and right...and I have only been here in PY a very short time. I am definitely going to need remedial English classes when I return home.
Anywho, the last few days have been extremely busy. It is so hard to find time to have by myself. Between training, eating, spending a little bit of time with my host family, completing homework, and getting my projects going and done in order to qualify for PC service...I barely can find time to write into my blog or my journal. I have taken my mom's advice and started writing into a special notebook describing the day's adventures. Training is so structured - that at times, it just makes me ill! Really! But, it's a good thing...I guess.
I'm having a ball integrating into my family and community. My host mom is such a nice lady. She is a typical PY woman...muy guapa (hardworking) and provides for her family in every way. She treats me just like her son. She has recently allowed me to start helping her in the kitchen. She is teaching me how she prepares some of PY's traditional dishes - sopa de paraguaya, sojos, mandioca, arrow blanco...and much more. Fruit is so abundant here in this country...hey, what am I saying, it is abundant in our yard. We just go and pick fruits off the trees in our yard - lemons, guyava, apples, bananas, avocados and grapefruit (Although they aren't ripe). The oranges here aren't orange though..they are green - and the lemons aren't yellow, they too are green. Same great taste! Our bananas are very small. And they ripen very quickly after you pick them from the tree. I walk early in the mornings with my host mom to pick out some of the fruits from the yard. I've recently learned about a new tradition that sons do in the family with their dads. Every time I leave and enter the house, I should fold my hands as if I am praying to my dad and he then blesses me. I've tried to do this as much as possible, but I have forgotten a couple of times...but I quickly run back to take care of that business. He is not doing very well health wise. He has a bad heart and takes medicine every day.
My host brothers are the coolest. They are so patient with me. Luis had an oral exam today at the university..I didn't get the feeling that he did very well. When I asked him about the exam, he didn't say much about it. Nelson, on the other hand, couldn't start commenting on the "chicas Linda" in his class (beautiful girls). I am so lucky to have them as my host brothers. They take their time when they speak to me so that I can understand them. They have recently expressed an interest in learning English, so I have been trying to teach them as much as possible (mostly at dinner time when it's just us). My older brother, Luis, is studying to be an attorney. He will be finished in April. My younger brother, Nelson, is a sophomore at the national Universidad in Asuncion. He is studying agriculture. My host sister, Marlena, who is married - but does spend time at our house, is almost finished at the national Universidad in Asuncion. She is studying economics. She, on the other hand, is very eager to share about her exams. When I show them pictures of how large I was "before," they can't believe it. But they are eager to read the things I have brought in English. I have several uncles - Polly, Augustine, and Erico. Polly just recently visited us from Argentina. I can't understand anything he says, but boy did I have a good time cutting up with him and just letting him make fun of me!! The stupid American...life is so good! I definitely have grown closer to my family because of his visit and for that, I am grateful. Augustine and my aunt, Gabriella, run a store together, and stay at a smaller house on my family's property. Gabriella's birthday is next week. One of the trainees that I have really good friends with, Brook...her birthday is this Thursday. I have several cousins that I have met. I particularly enjoy spending time with Jose Luis...MArlena's son.
Language classes are going okay. Learning so much. And you kinda know me...I am eager to try the new words out on the street. The great thing about living here is that no one knows you - so I just make a fool of myself all day long! PY people just don't care how badly you butcher their language...they are so tranquillo with you and just help you with it! They snicker - surely, but they are super agradable people (kind hearted and nice).
I have my second reading club tonight. We had 23 altogether. Management is definitely a problem. Remember, I am working with another trainee who is pretty good with the language, but I throw in my English management techniques which she translates into Spanish. I use warhead's sour spray with my kids tonight, and they absolutely loved it - except for this really small child...she cried. They really did like it. Again, they were so much into the book. This time, I got to read it and it was good practice for me. They were just given the words...we asked them to draw in pictures to the story. You just wouldn't believe how interested these kids are when it comes to reading. At the end of our last club meeting, we announced a contest to see which child could bring in the most bottle tops (something we can use as manipulatives in the schools to teach math). I am guessing that we probably got over 500 bottle caps. And they only had like 5 days to work on this...I gave the winner, a girl named Catalina, a new jumprope. It was dark when I walked home from the reading club that night, and on the way home, I saw her using it with her dad. She absolutely adored it! I really do like the reading club, but pray for us when it comes to management!
Tech training is going okay. Surprisingly, it is more overwhelming than language training. Just try making teaching materials from scratch and what you find on the ground - something that USC did not teach me. However, they are doing a good job of teaching me....we have been visited by a lot of currently serving volunteers. They ease my anxieties. This week, we started our dias de practica - just like practicum in the states - we visit our assigned school and our assigned grade. My practicum is in second grade during training.
Tomorrow, I am going on a tapeapovo - a scavenger hunt to Asuncion. I have a list of places that I am supposed to stop and talk to certain people that will guide me to my next stop. I am a bit scared about riding the bus though. They have told us so many horror stories about the caballos locos on the bus (crazy horses - of course these are thieves). I have to be really careful what I do, say, and bring. Can't talk in English on the bus, they advise us to sit in the middle close to an older person...because they won't mess with them. I am looking forward to this bit of freedom to explore the capital city. I hope that I can get a group together to return to further explore possibly next weekend.
You wouldn't believe how hard it is to teach kickball to PY children!! Another story - another day. Guess what? I got a jury summons in the mail today, my mom told me. I couldn't believe that it took me this long to get selected.
This weekend, I leave for a small trip to visit another currently serving volunteer somewhere in the country. tomorrow, I find out where I will be going and the logistics of such..it will definitely be an experience. i will be staying with the other volunteer in his or her home. itīs going to be quite tricky...i will be totally by myself...so i will definitely be branching out! i will be back in my little town this coming tuesday. the schedule is going pretty fast.
just a little update ...i got my first letter from home today. thank you angie and donna for the letters and cards. they meant so much to me. it is so much like mail call depicted int he movies at a boot camp...we all gather around and the person calls our last name and distributes the mail..so it means so much when i get a letter from home....
peace be with you all. today is ash wednesday. i am going with my mom to church where i am going to get ashy!!! well, not really.
your ambassador to the world, trevor